, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – Machakos county will for the first time be participating in the Mater Heart Run come May 24.
Mater Hospital CEO John Muriithi made the announcement at the official launch of the 2014 fund raising drive on Wednesday.
“We are particularly grateful to Capital FM and Cyrus (Kamau, Capital Group MD) in particular for always challenging us to take the run to the countryside. And we’re glad that Machakos county, the governor and the team there have been very supportive and we look forward to running in Machakos and hopefully in the future in other counties,” he said.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua told Capital FM News that he was glad his county could contribute in the Mater Heart Run and said his government would facilitate it to the best of their ability.
“We are honoured to have this opportunity to make a contribution to such a worthy cause,” he told Capital FM News.
Capital Group’s Managing Director Cyrus Kamau encouraged Kenyans to come out in large numbers to support the hundreds of children with heart defects who benefit from corrective heart surgery because of the proceeds raised through the run.
“Kids are our future. And hence as a group we looked into Mater and we said this is a worthy cause. These are (the) young and vulnerable and we want them to be our future listeners. And that’s why we’ve stood with them for over a decade,” he explained.
Capital FM hopes to help the Mater Hospital raise Sh70 million in what is the 18th year of the run after helping it raise Sh54 million in 2013.
“Two-hundred and thirty one children are beneficiaries of the proceeds of last year’s run and this year we want to grow that number to 250,” Mater Hospital’s Marketing Director Lawrence Muiga told Capital FM News.
One of the 231 children who benefited from last year’s run is 11-year-old Felix Ouma who was born with a hole in his heart.
“I used to have constant headaches, sweat a lot and have such laboured breathing that I could not play. Now I don’t get as tired easily,” he testified.
Ouma who is also orphaned discovered he had a heart condition in March of 2013 after the Mater Hospital held a medical camp in his orphanage.
“I don’t think anybody cared enough to find out what was ailing him when he was living on the street,” a social worker with the Mary Immaculate Rehabilitation Centre, Esther Kantai commented.
And having lived with a heart defect for 10 of his short 11 years, he acted as a sort of sensitiser where rheumatic heart disease is concerned:
“Do you have a sore throat? Look at your heart. You’ve got pain when swallowing? Think of your heart. You’ve got swollen joints and fever? Examine your heart. Now that you know all this, you will have a strong heart,” he recited targeting fellow children.